Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of Northern Chautauqua

companionship on life's sacred journey

Releasing the old, welcoming the new

October 2018

From the Heart

Alan Watts says:
“the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”

There is deep wisdom here. If we hold something tightly because it helps us feel secure, we risk losing the very thing we value. This is certainly true of our breath. We each want to keep breathing, and so we have learned to release each old breath and welcome the new one.

Or consider a child we care for and care about. There is the old saying, “If you truly love someone, you must be ready to let them go.” Children are growing and changing and inevitably moving away from us in so many ways. If we understand our love for them fully, we learn to accept growth and change. We know this is the way of things.

Part of our individual religious process is sorting through what we value and seeking out what we find most trustworthy and important. We learn to let our breathing and our loving relationships flow and move.

And still we seek the deeper patterns behind this flow of life. We end up with terms like “God” and “Tao” and “Enlightenment” and “Love.” There may be some security here. But life moves on and we still have questions.

On October 14 I’ll be digging more into the wisdom of Alan Watts. We’ll look at some of the answers he proposes to the deep questions that still remain in our hearts; we’ll consider how his answers might help.

Love to All.
Reverend George Buchanan

© 2018 Reverend George Buchanan

Radical Hope

September 2018

From the Heart

Recently I’ve used words like this to open worship for our Unitarian Universalist congregation:

“Welcome to this, our community of radical hope. Here we hope and pray for the Beloved Community – a world made fair with all her people free. We strive to realize this in our own lives, in our presence with one another, and in the broader communities around us.”

This hope I speak of is “radical” in the original Latin sense of the word. To take a radical approach to something means to get at the root of it, or to deal with the fundamentals of it.

This radical hope is religious, because we are considering the roots of what is most deeply and fundamentally worthy of our loyalty and commitment. This is so whether we are committed to God, or Goddess, or the Tao, or Truth, or Justice, or one of many other expressions of the fundamental. We are willing to set aside lesser things, if needed, for the sake of our deepest commitments.

What is radical hope like? Well, many Unitarian Universalists have come to our congregations from different religious traditions. These searchers were and are motivated by one form of radical hope – the hope that a community might exist consistent with their beliefs.

Or consider the process of becoming a Welcoming Congregation in our faith. This is a congregational process grounded in radical hope for communities open to all, no matter whom they love or how they identify their gender.

There are lots of other examples of ways we can live in radical hope. In the coming year I will be exploring different aspects of radical hope, in sermons, in workshops, and in our lives together.

You can learn more about radical hope here.

Love to all,
Reverend George Buchanan

© 2018 Reverend George Buchanan



Minister Messages from 2017 - 2018